The other night, as we were sitting at the dinner table, my five year old asked when we were going to get to sleep in the tent. Aside from indoor camp-outs, she has never slept in a tent or gone camping. We made one attempt when she was about 9 months old, in our friend's yard, but the kids and I wound up coming home. She wasn't always sleeping through the night at that point, so I figured that sleeping in a tent would not help her sleep through the night and the others at the camp-out likely would not appreciate the sound of a crying baby at 3 am.
I can remember doing lots of camping as a child. Whether it was sleeping in the pop up camper in the driveway with all of my cousins at a slumber party the night before my brother's birthday party, an annual weekend family camp-out with my dad's family, a weekend camp out for Girl Scouts or even a vacation that we took to a lake and camped, I always loved it. I can remember at the family camp outs that when my cousin and I got older, that we were allowed to share a tent, instead of sleeping in the tent/camper with our families. I loved the hiking, the swimming, the hanging out around the campfire and the waking up in the morning to the sounds of nature.
The campfire brought with it so many stories and lots of delicious food. There is something great about food cooked on the campfire. For some reason, Hot Dogs tasted better when you cooked them on a stick. Marshmallows were so nice and ooey gooey - and sometimes, added to chocolate for S'mores.
But, I think my absolute favorite food from the campfire were the pockets of yumminess we cooked in our pie irons. Somehow, simple bread was transformed when added to a little bit of butter in a hot pie iron and filled with the simplest of ingredients. It became so crispy and held such a delicious treat. We would make a variety of pie irons. When I was younger, I remember them mostly being desserts. We would fill them canned pie filling and sprinkle with powdered sugar. When I was older, I remember making Pizza Pie Irons. These were awesome, filled with some pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella and pepperoni. You had to watch, too much pizza sauce and you were sure to get burned on that first bite when the sauce oozed out. We also got fancy with our desserts and made a lemon meringue pie, using lemon pie filling and marshmallows on the inside.
When my husband and I purchased our first tent and camping gear, with a gift certificate I had received from work, I made sure that we bought marshmallow/hot dog sticks and pie irons. We did some camping in our pre-children years, but it has been a long time since we went camping.
Since my daughter asked, I think that we may have to take a mini-staycation in our backyard soon. We can pitch our tent, pull out our camping supplies and have a little campfire. We may have to borrow a fire pit, or maybe I buy a new one to replace our old one that rusted out, but we will cook our dinner on the fire and sit around telling stories.
I know that the kids would enjoy it and it would be a good trial before making a commitment to a 'real' camping trip where we load up the car and go to a campground or state park for the night. I always enjoyed camping as a kid and I think it would be fun to start our own family tradition of camping out and hope that my kids will have fond memories of camping out too.
What type of stay-cation will you take this year?
No compensation was received for this post. All opinions expressed are mine or those of my family. I am completing this post as a participant in the Hormel Foods Extended Family Blogger program. Hormel Foods provided some of the information for this post.
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